Tavas Air Show 2017

Kid’s Kraazzee Obsessions with Planes, Trains and Automobiles – along with a bit of history!  

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Saturday arrived and I was supposed to be pumped to get to the Tavas Airshow at Caboolture.

Well, I felt like crap – growing old can be a bitch – sometimes it’s a bitch with attitude.  Anyhow, along with some less than enjoyable weather, I made the call to sloth at home and let the world pass by without me.  Truth was, I could have thankfully curled up and died in the corner.  BUT… Sunday was a new day – a day with sunshine, light winds and a Kraazzee Kid who was ready to rock’n’roll to the airshow.

Now – you can make your way many ways to Caboolture – up the highway… OR, out through Samford, Dayboro, Mt Mee and down the road to the airport at Caboolture.

9.00am precisely I wandered through the gates into my GREAT DAY OUT.  Getting through the gates meant a bags check etc. – handing over the dollars and getting ready for a long walk!

Grabbing a cup of coffee, I was told the Saturday was quite miserable on-site with drizzle and cool winds up and down the field.  What a bonus Sunday was – everything was just perfect and the crowds in the area proved it.  Kids, young and old were meandering around, stopping to look at static displays, crawling through some old aircraft and generally having a great time.  Some of us were having more than the casual chat about things and then acting like kids everytime a passover was due.


The rare and unique aircraft this year included:
1901 Whitehead No.21 (static), 1909 Johnson Monoplane*, 1909 Demoiselle

Fokker E.III Eindecker, Sopwith Triplane, Nieuport 17, SE5a, Fokker Dr.I Triplane, Bristol F2b Fighter, Fokker DVII* and Fokker D.VIII
This is the ONLY collection of flying WW1 type aircraft in Australia!

Hawker Demon*

1929 Fleet, C-140, C-195, 1928-designed Pietenpol Aircamper, DH Drover*

Bristol Beaufort*, Wirraway, SNJ

Australian-built P-51D Mustang (CA-18)

Mig 17 jet fighter (static), DHC-4 Caribou (static)

(Used by various military forces)
DH Devon, DH Tiger Moth, Auster, Yak 52, T-34 Mentor, T-28 Trojan, DHC-1 Chipmunk

The first demonstration flying routines took place at 10.00am – so that gave me a chance to go spying my way through static displays – checking out the 1901 Whitehead No.21, the 1909 Johnson Monoplane ‘replica’, the 1909 Demoiselle -’Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines’, the 1915 Fokker E.III Eindecker, the 1916 Nieuport 17, the 1917 Fokker Dr.I Triplane ‘The Red Baron’, the 1917 Bristol F2B Fighter, 1917 Se5a, 1917 Fokker D.VII and the 1918 Fokker D.VIII… but that was just the start.

I got to check out the museum and all the displays just awaiting everyone’s interest.  People were dressed in era costumes and there was a small static display from the Historic Village across the road and a number of classic cars etc.

Now  the flying routines got their attention – from all and sundry.  It was great to see generations of people simply just wide-eyed and gobs wide open!

Firstly it was the WW1 display – and what can I say… it wasn’t just the kids who got excited at planes that were going so very slowly.  When one is used to the world today and the speed at which things move, it was incredible to watch these old ‘birds’ slowing moving with the wind and its currents.  To watch the ‘Red Baron’ flying overhead was like being in a Fairytale.  Maybe it’s just the kid in me, but it was MAGIC.

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The all red Dr.I is undoubtedly the most famous aircraft in the world, known by aviation enthusiast and non aviation types alike. It is now pretty much accepted by all (except Canadians) that an Australian was responsible for shooting down the Red Baron – most likely Sergeant Cedric Popkin of the 24th machine gun company.

Australian soldiers were the first to the crash site. Australians were the first to lift souvenirs from his aircraft (many of which are now housed in the National War Memorial in Canberra). Australians were the ones who buried Von Richthofen with full military honours.

The TAVAS example was purchased from the United States. It was constructed from both the Ron Sands plans and the Walt Redfern plans and is for the most part, incredibly accurate. The main deviations from authenticity being the use of disk brakes for safety, a tail wheel instead of a skid and a modern lycoming engine. Improvements will be made on this aircraft over time to make it as it was in 1917/18.

There are no original Fokker Dr.I’s left anywhere in the world. The last one (one of Manfred Von Richthofen’s aircraft – 152/17) was hanging in a museum in Berlin and was destroyed during an allied bombing mission in WW2.

This will be the only Fokker Dr.I flying in Australia.  There was one example flying in the 1990’s. It was operated by the RAAF Museum at Point Cook but it was severely overweight and overpowered by the Continental R-670 radial engine and hence was not as pleasant to handle as real Triplanes. It ended up in storage with the AWM in Canberra. It was then moved and is now on display at the Museum of Army Aviation in Oakey Queensland.

General characteristics

  • Length: 5.77 m (18 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 7.20 m (23 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 18.70 m² (201 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 406 kg (895 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 586 kg (1,292 lb)

Powerplant: 1 × Oberursel Ur.II 9-cylinder rotary engine, (110 hp)

Maximum speed: 185 km/h at sea level (102 knots at sea level)
Stall speed: 72 km/h (45 mph)
Range: 300 km (185 mi)
Service ceiling: 6,095 m (20,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 5.7 m/s (1,130 ft/min)
Lift-to-drag ratio: 8.0

Armament: 2 × 7.92 mm (.312 in) Spandau lMG 08 machine guns

Johnson Monoplane


In 1909 the Johnson brothers (of marine outboard motor fame) built their own aircraft. Quite impressive considering they had never actually seen one before! They also built their own design 2 stroke, 60 hp engine to power it.

When finished, they discovered the machine to be too tail heavy and ended up replacing the heavy wooden fuselage with a duralium (an early type of aluminium) one.

The aircraft first flew in 1911 and flew regularly most weeks on demonstration flights, earning the brothers up to $600 per weekend. It flew like this for three years with no accidents.

The design and performance was years ahead of its time (and what anyone else was doing). This combined with the fact the brothers were so far located from the rest of the populace, their monoplane never generated enough attention to become a saleable item. The aircraft rotted away in a barn whilst the brothers turned their efforts to a more lucrative market – outboard engines for boats.

This aircraft was the first monoplane in America. It was also the first to use aluminium in its primary construction. It was also the first successful tricycle gear aircraft and the first to be fitted with a brake.

The TAVAS example is the only reproduction of this aircraft in the world. It was built by Herbert Seiser in South Africa and donated to TAVAS in mid 2014.

The day was intense – the Kraazzee Kid got to talk mechanical beasts (for those who know me even a little bit, they know that is my world!).  

Within the displays of ‘flight’ were static displays of cars and bikes, and general history.

I felt ‘at home’ and I must admit, I love the fact that ‘history’ is still flying, still being told, and actually BEING LIVED!!!  The sounds and smells are something which evokes ‘memories’ of years past.

In many ways, it’s like bikes.  I truly hope there are people who are just as passionate about bikes 100 years after we leave this planet.  It would be a sad day when we give up telling younger generations about what helped BUILD their world.

Just think about how people in the late 1800’s felt about these pioneers of the air!

I, for one, am very pleased there have been men and women who have tested the boundaries and lived adventures.

What a day!  Take the time out to discover these great shows – our history… You might be surprised just how much fun you’ll have!

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